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North Yorkshire forest hosts Saxon festival

[Friday 14 September 2007]
dalby woodland festival
Woodland skills on show at Dalby
Photo: Friends of Dalby Forest

A SPECTACLE of ancient arts and crafts dating from Anglo-Saxon days will be on offer alongside more up to date woodland skills in the magical setting of North Yorkshire's Dalby Forest for a three-day Woodland Festival been held this weekend (14-16 September).

The Festival, only the second to be held by the Friends of Dalby Forest, brings together a range of wonderfully-skilled people, most from Yorkshire, to practise and display their traditional and rare crafts.

Visitors can see trug making or try their hand at bug box making; check out charcoal burning and chainsaw carving; and watch wool spinning and woodturning.

The first event two years ago attracted more than 3,000 visitors. This year's festival boasts over twice as many arts and crafts exhibitors with nearly 40 taking part. Other attractions are mini-beast hunts for children, organised flora & fauna walks, stands and demonstrations by a badger and a barn owl group, and a traction engine display.

Joan Hignett, of the Friends of Dalby Committee, played the major role in organising the festival. She said: "The first one was funded with the help of a Heritage Lottery Fund grant and was so successful we thought we'd try it again. This time, we have funded the event ourselves but we have managed to get more crafts and exhibitors. It is more a festival in woodland than a woodland festival.

Some of the skills being shown are so rare now that most people will never have the opportunity to see them

Joan Hignett - Friends of Dalby

"Some of the skills being shown are so rare now that most people will never have the opportunity to see them in practice. They go back centuries, such as the trug making, an old form of wooden basket making, or the pole lathe, which was used to spin wood well before the advent of electricity. Charcoal burning, while dating from the Stone Age, has incredibly modern uses now, from carbon dating to BBQ fuel."

"Some of the craftspeople still make a living using these specialist skills, I am glad to say, but who knows what the future holds. These traditional methods have survived until now so hopefully they will survive for many more years to come."

The Festival runs from Friday to Sunday, 14th to 16th inclusive, from 10am to 5pm at Adderstone Field in the 8,600-acre Dalby Forest.

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